2017 Bright Year for Solar

The U.S. solar industry reported this month double digit growth for U.S. solar installations in 2016 and 2017. That’s great news! At the end of 2017, U.S. capacity totaled 53.3 GW.
But let’s put this in perspective. That’s less than half of China’s current installed capacity, which is more than 130 GW. China domestically installed 53 GW last year alone. Yup, that’s almost the same as total U.S. capacity. This BNEF article lays out the reasons behind–in its words–China’s “runaway” growth in solar installations.

In the U.S., the solar and wind industries account for way more jobs than the fossil fuels sector. Here are the most recent figures from the Department of Energy’s 2017 Energy and Employment Report.

The question for the U.S. now is how much the Trump Administration’s tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels will hurt the growth of solar installations and job growth here. Solar companies in Massachusetts this year have already blamed significant job losses in part on the Trump Administration’s tariffs because they’ve created financial uncertainty.

New Name, Logo, Website!

Welcome to the China-U.S. Energy Innovation Alliance! Our new name reflects the broader mission we adopted last fall: to accelerate clean energy innovation. Why?  Because clean energy promotes economic growth, energy security and a healthier planet.

Our strategy is to bring together energy leaders who wouldn’t normally come together to share common problems and best practices to speed up solutions.

Our new name, mission and logo reflect the monumental changes in clean energy since the original organization–the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance–was established in 2005. In less than a decade, China has leapfrogged to become world leaders in the manufacturing and installation of solar and wind power. On top of that, China has  already zoomed ahead of the U.S. in producing electric vehicles.

We’re still committed to promoting energy efficiency, there’s no doubt.  But new technology and other innovations, including green financing, are creating profound, exciting solutions too.

Now energy leaders in both countries can learn much from each other. As global carbon pollution rises to ever more dangerous levels, the need to scale up smart energy solutions is urgent.

The Alliance is enthusiastic to broker and drive these discussions. We’re convinced that together with energy leaders in the public and private sectors in China and the U.S., we can do more. We are determined to fast forward energy innovation. Join us!

We welcome your feedback on our changes. Contact us at info@cuseialliance.org.

China’s First Steps in Nationwide Emissions Trading

China is poised to announce a national carbon emissions trading system this week. The start of the program is likely to be far less ambitious than originally hoped for. Nevertheless its overarching goal remains admirable.

China likely won’t address many details yet, experts in China and the U.S. say. There are issues of monitoring, reporting, and verification. The program still needs baseline data. And the Chinese are unlikely to say much about the regulatory requirements or what sectors will be covered. There’s a decent chance that the trading scheme will cover the power sector.

It’s not surprising that China is not yet ready to launch a full-scale program. As a point of reference, California took several years to launch its own cap and trade program. China’s program will be much larger than California’s. Just four years ago, China launched seven pilot programs in emissions trading in various locations across the nation. At the same time, it set an extremely ambitious target to kick off a national program this year.

Experts say to watch the process in which China incrementally builds up its emissions trading program to a national scale. The irony is that China is seizing the initiative to construct a national emissions trading program using capital markets. That’s the farthest thing from the Trump Administration, which instead is hell bent to promote the coal industry and withdraw from the Paris accord.

E-bus Panel Recording Ready!

Missed our terrific October panel on the future of e-buses in China and the U.S.? Listen to it here! You can download the file to your phone, etc.

Here’s the lineup of speakers:

David Sawaya, PG&E’s lead on the CPUC proposal.
Andy Swanton, vice president, BYD, China’s largest EV manufacturer.
Dean Taylor, SCE’s senior scientist on EVs and lead on the CPUC proposal.
Yunshi Wang, UC-Davis, Director, China Center for Energy and Transportation
John Boesel, CEO, CALSTART, moderator

Chivas Lam Joins the Alliance Board

Lam, who is based in Shanghai, was previously a venture partner at a $2.7B firm, Qiming Ventures, where he focused on clean energy investments. Qiming, headquartered in Shanghai, was founded by American Gary Rieschel.